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Special Counsel Jack Smith Investigates Trump’s Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election and Mike Pence Subpoenaed

Former Vice President Mike Pence has been subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.[0] An analysis of the facts showed a trend of attempts to coerce Vice President Pence into overturning the election results.[1] Jack Smith, the special counsel, has taken one of the boldest steps in his investigation of President Trump's management of confidential papers with this move. Additionally, Smith is also conducting another inquiry into the President's dealing with classified documents.[1]

A source close to the situation and a Justice Department official have both confirmed that the FBI is conducting a search of the former Vice President Mike Pence's home in Indiana for any classified materials.[2] The search follows a discovery that documents bearing classified markings had been, they said, “inadvertently” boxed up and found in the former vice president's home in Indiana.[3] The Justice Department then asked for “direct possession” of the documents, and they were taken from Pence's residence.[3]

Former national security adviser Robert O’Brien has also been subpoenaed in the investigation into both classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and the probe into Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.[4]

The “Speech or Debate” Clause in Article I Section 6 of the Constitution is what is being discussed here. This clause states that legislators “shall not be questioned in any other place” for “any speech or debate in either House.” A Politico report stated that the basis for Mike Pence's legal challenge does not focus on executive privilege, but rather on his prior responsibility as President of the Senate.[5] The counsels of Vice President Pence assert that the “speech or debate” clause of the Constitution provides immunity to members of Congress from any legal proceedings deriving from their work. It is argued that compliance with federal prosecutors could compromise the principle of separation of powers set forth in the Constitution.[5]

The speech or debate clause has been a contentious issue in the past.[6] Although the Clause only states ‘Senators and Representatives,' prior cases have not applied it in a literal sense.[7] It is said that Vice President Pence will claim that the speech or debate clause in the Constitution renders him exempt from having to testify.

Merrick Garland, the Attorney General, has chosen Jack Smith as the special counsel to take charge of the investigations surrounding Trump's retention of confidential documents, and other parts of the inquiry concerning the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021 and Trump's attempts to invalidate the 2020 election.[8] Robert Hur was selected to serve as a special counsel, tasked with the investigation of the records uncovered in the possession of Biden.[9]

0. “Trump’s former national security adviser subpoenaed in special counsel probe: report” The Hill, 10 Feb. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/3852210-trumps-former-national-security-advisor-subpoenaed-in-special-counsel-probe-report

1. “Is Pence subpoena Trump’s nightmare? Ari Melber breaks down DOJ’s pursuit of ‘coup club’” MSNBC, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/the-beat-with-ari/watch/is-pence-subpoena-trump-s-nightmare-ari-melber-breaks-down-doj-s-pursuit-of-coup-club-163160133509

2. “FBI finds one additional classified document in search of Pence's home” Axios, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/02/10/pence-fbi-search-classified-documents

3. “FBI finds an additional classified document during ‘consensual' search of Pence's home” NPR, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/02/10/1154177170/mike-pence-fbi-search-home-office

4. “First on CNN: Trump's former national security adviser subpoenaed in special counsel probes of classified documents, January 6” CNN, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/09/politics/robert-obrien-trump-adviser-subpoenaed-special-counsel/index.html

5. “Pence Preparing to Challenge Grand Jury Subpoena on Constitutional Grounds” National Review, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/pence-preparing-to-challenge-grand-jury-subpoena-on-constitutional-grounds/

6. “Analysis | What it means for Pence to fight his subpoena — politically and legally” The Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/14/pence-subpoena-legislative-privilege

7. “Can The Vice President Invoke The “Speech or Debate” Clause?” Reason, 14 Feb. 2023, https://reason.com/volokh/2023/02/14/can-the-vice-president-invoke-the-speech-or-debate-clause/

8. “FBI search of Pence's home uncovers more documents” CBS News, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pences-home-being-searched-fbi/

9. “Mike Pence Documents Discovery Could Spell Trouble for Trump: Kirschner” Newsweek, 12 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pence-documents-discovery-trouble-trump-kirschner-1780655